08 December 2010

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

8 DECEMBER 2010. Today the Church celebrates the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Macula is Latin for "stain." This day the Church celebrates the conception of our Blessed Mother without the stain of sin.

First recognized in Church teaching (in the Eastern Churches) as early as the fifth century, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was not formally promulgated by the Church until 8 December 1854 by Blessed Pope Pius IX. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception, one of the four Marian dogmas of the Church, holds that Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother, Saint Ann, and kept free for her entire life, from its very first moment, without the stain of sin.

Christ, the Word, who is beyond all time and space and physical limitation, was contained in the womb of Mary, our Immaculate Mother. As the angel greeted her "full of grace," we believe that she was indeed preserved by God our savior, her Son, from the stain of sin to fulfill her unique and indispensable role in salvation history--to carry Christ in her womb, the initiate His public ministry at a wedding in Cana, to follow Him to the point of the  foot of the cross, and to join our Lord bodily though her assumption into heaven.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

Holy Mary, the Immaculate Conception, is the exemplar for all Christian faithful in living a true life of Christian love, dedicated to Christ and truly open to the love and works of God. Pray to our Lady for her assistance in each of our life journeys to Christ.

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